35,000 feet

Cruising at 35,000 feet, I consider anew where I am in terms of aesthetic experience. I also ruminate upon the reasons why I have come to these positions.Nature has always been the source of my aesthetic inspiration. I played the culture game for most of my adult life. I saw some of my artistic friends – with whom I shared much in common – become rich and famous, succumb to the deadly allure of expensive drugs, die from complications of HIV and AIDS, or become simply the producers of playthings for the very rich. It’s hard to look at a lifetime filled with that sort of tragedy and nonsense and affirm the culture and worldview that encourages and sustains it.Moreover, careers as an exhibiting artist, a content producer, a writer on art, and an art teacher brought me into contact with more gallery people and producers of culture than I am able to recall by name or face at this point in my life. That means more time spent in museums, art galleries, studios, and other art contexts than most people spend in front of their TVs. Additionally, the history of art has moved in my lifetime from object-oriented material production toward purely conceptual territory and a post-moderism that seems to me to position the experience and creative production of individuals in a solipsistic context. In like manner, my own work has moved from the production of physical objects, through the creation of purely digital experience, to a point at which my life is my art and the production of things or the creation of external experience is incidental.Of course, I am still able to teach and write about the various points of view that have informed the history of art and culture because they are simply that: history.But the present is not history – not yet, at least. And it is in this present that I exist and experience my world aesthetically. I am at some significant distance from the world that lies 35,000 feet below my view from the window of a Boeing 737. I prefer the view from this altitude because it renders culture nonexistent – except for its technological underpinnings. It renders myself as either totally insignificant or thoroughly valuable as an entity of perception, and it allows for the contemplation of Nature from a perspective in which Nature is all there is to see.*Image:Our Place From Space by Tullio Francesco DeSantis, manipulated aerial imagery, 2005

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